By 1955, the suburbs of Kwinana were home to over 4,500 people and the local Road Board (the governing body at the time) decided it was time their community had a Library. However only half the amount of money needed to build a library was available, so a public donation drive was needed to raise the rest of the funds.
Generous donations from the public including local residents, groups and businesses such as the Kwinana Progress Association, Medina Café, Medina Soccer and Cricket Clubs, Boans and Cockburn Cement managed to raise £656, that would be more than $20,000 in today’s money!
On the 13th July 1956, the Pace Road Library doors open for the first time with Mrs Patricia Morris as Librarian.
Librarian Patricia Morris lending out book at Kwinana Public Library, 1959. 319851PD Courtesy State Library of Western Australia
While everyone is welcome to visit, only people living in Kwinana can borrow books at a limit of 2 per person. Parents can borrow books for their children but you must be in 5th grade or higher at school to have a library card. If teenagers wanted to read a book from the adult section, that was just too bad! Teens would have to wait until 1959 when it was decided that they were grown up enough to read adult books, but only the ones picked out for them by their parents and Mrs Morris.
By 1960 television was becoming more popular and as a result, borrower numbers started to fall. In fear of losing their borrowers and to encourage families to keep reading, the Librarian decides that 4th graders are now allowed to have their own library cards. She needn’t have been worried however, because by 1970 the library was so busy they needed to take on more staff just to keep up! Doreen Heckford came on board to help and eventually took over from Mrs Morris as Librarian. Being new to the area, Doreen didn’t know anyone except her husband, but the community soon made her feel at home.
“The people who come into the Library are very much a part of my family.”
Doreen Crockford, 1994
In 1996 it was decided that a new library building was needed and the Library relocated to the Hub Shopping Centre. The Pace Road Library closed it doors for the last time on Christmas Eve 1996 and the building was sold to the Kwinana Social Club. Customers could now rent videos from the Library! A bold move as before this the library had avoided stocking them, not wanting to upset the local video stores.
Long time borrowers may remember flicking through paper card catalogues to see if the Library had the book you wanted. This could a slow and very difficult way to browse the library collections. Luckily this was all about to change, in the year 2000 Kwinana Library hello to digital technology – customers could now browse the library catalogue on their computer.
Over the next few years our community grows and grows and the space at the Hub just isn’t big enough to be everything we need it.
to be. Construction of the Darius Wells Library and Resource Centre commences in 2010. It will be a long three years before the new library is ready but finally on June 10th, 2013 the Library as we know opens its doors. It’s popular too, a massive 882 books being borrowed on the very first day!
Today is our 60th Birthday and we’re having a party! We look forward you joining us and hearing all of your memories of our library’s journey, please come by and add your memories to our patchwork mural or fill in one of our Voices of Kwinana forms.
Thank you for being part of our library community, we look forward to many more years together!